usa Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268

US Marine Corps

HMM-268 :

1972 to 2013    


Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268
Red Dragons, Tail code YQ

1972-77 : Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 268 (HML-268)
1979 - Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 268 (HMM-268)

Apr14 - Redesignated VMM-268

Before HMM-268 stood up in Tustin in 1979 it was HMLA-268 which was deactivated several years before. A friend of mine was the Ops Chief of THAT 268. I was the third or fourth member to join HMM-268 in the beginning. I was fresh off the Drill Field in San Diego and was just freshly promoted to SSgt there and was VERY eager to go to my first Squadron as the Ops Chief! Capt Gary PRICE (Ops) and SSgt Jack PEER (Admin Chief) and maybe SgtMajor GIBB were the 1st two or three if I remember correctly. Soon after that we received LCpl Mark Stettler (S-3). We had no spaces and no aircraft but we due to Stand Up in March. Then we got the CO, LtCol Richard Bianchino, fresh off the olympics team where he had Leon Spinks on the boxing team. This was all in the Jan to Feb 1979 timeframe. We met now and then in the MAG-16 conference room to hold our musters. The first 3 aircraft we received could not fly. One was an old pumpkin (A Model)SAR bird from NAS Whidbey Island, Wa. The other two were from the Marine Corps. All had to got o NARF to become flyable. The beautiful patch was designed by Lt John TUCK, also a Plank Owner. He also worked in Ops. Our Stand-Up Formation was held INSIDE Hangar 4 at Tustin because it rained. Our Natops O was the Adj and he passed out from standing at attention too long. It was MOST memorable. Even the CG was there. The other platoon Sergeant and I carried Captain PERRY to the John, loosened his belt and tie and rejoined the festivities. Lt HARPER became the ADJ then. Inside a year it was THE Squadron to be in, no beans about it. On the patch the blue side stands for DAY and the black side for NIGHT. John chose the Dragon because he loved all things japanese and he was a fantastic artist. I have a sort of Cruise Book we photocopied together in Oki in the summer of 1980. I also have the Station Cruise Book for 1980 which covers the whole base and ALL the Squadrons and host Units. I also still have my flight jacket patches. Major Fitzhugh B. LEE was the XO. Major Bobby Garner was the OpsO. He went on to bigger and better things (Including WTI in Yuma). Our first flyers were D Models and gradually we got some Fs. It was a furious and memorable two years for me. I spent twenty years in that job and those were among the best two. I was in 11 Squadrons in 8 Groups. I deployed 7 times off both coasts. It was a hoot. MOST of it was in 46s.
Semper Fly, .50 Cal.
SSgt USMC Retired
Black Hawk, SD.
Pretty sure it was Major Bianchino when we started. I was one of the first enlisted men in the avionics department. No tools, no helicopters, it was pretty strange. We took a great deal of pride in our work till my discharge in July of 1981. I was in charge of the night avionics crew. Signed, Sgt. Donald C. Rigdon 6612/6632
Shortly after I arrived PFC Daniel P Gonzales arrived SSgt. John Mellish arrived and then I believe 1st Lt. Fred Kunkle arrived all in a little office on the 2nd floor of the H&HS building just around the corner from the MP shack. Mark A. Stetler too many MOS's to remember them all, Jacobus PA

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1999/13MCAS Camp PendletonKNFG
1979/99MCAS Santa Ana / TustinKNTK
1972/77MCAS New RiverKNCA


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1979/13107M H-46 Sea Knight

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